Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
for the
ractice cholarship
of science, engineering,
and mathematics students
Fo c a l P o i n t
Winter 2007/08
The CPSE connects people with resources.
Call, email, or stop by Moench Hall, room D217, to:
• find resources about a variety of teaching and educational research projects.
• connect with people/offices on campus to help you pursue your educational interests.
• discuss course evaluation results and plan course improvements
• get help carrying out an educational research project
• arrange to have classes peer-reviewed
• brainstorm ideas for projects or proposals
• obtain feedback on (or help with) grant proposal or manuscript drafts
• share your ideas about other services that the CPSE could provide.
Showcase Your Work!
In this Issue:
Book Review:
Made to Stick
Call for Mentors
and Mentees
Mentoring Faculty 3
How to Design
and Evaluate
Research in
We’d like to showcase Rose-Hulman contributions to the scholarship of education. Have you
published education-related or educational research articles (journal, conference proceedings,
book chapter, etc.) within the past four years or so? Please pick one to three of your favorite
pieces of work, and send reprints to Kay C Dee. Sending reprints means that you’ll have at
least one paper displayed publicly on a bulletin board on the second floor of Moench Hall; that
(with your advance permission, of course) your work could possibly be featured in future RoseHulman publicity efforts; and that the CPSE will be better able to connect Rose-Hulman faculty
and staff with similar interests. Who knows, there could be fantastic potential collaborators (or
co-conspirators) located just down the hall from your office!
Instantly Improve Your Teaching—A Book Every Professor
Should Read
Contributed by Wayne T. Padgett
You can improve your teaching by doing a few simple things consistently. The book that describes these practical steps is short, enjoyable, and memorable because it follows its own advice. It is Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.
(Continued on page 2)
Page 2
Fo c a l P o i n t
Instantly Improve Your Teaching — Continued
While reading this book, I immediately saw how I could apply the ideas in it to improve my own classes
and other communication efforts. Of particular value to me was the admonition to use and collect applicable
stories. The book goes into substantial detail on the “stickyness” of stories, and research on how people
effectively “rehearse” a process while listening. The key becomes finding and telling the right kinds of stories, and the book is all about what makes a story or a message memorable. Another repeated theme is the
“curse of knowledge” that makes it hard to communicate an idea to those who do not yet understand (does
this sound familiar?). Read the book for a great story about how hard it is for people to remember that others can’t hear the tune you’re thinking of.
You may be surprised to find this book in the business and marketing section of the bookstore, but the
focus of the book is on getting people to remember what you’ve said and act on it. What could be more applicable to teaching? In fact, about half of their examples are teaching-oriented, and both authors work in
the education business. I think you need to read this book, and that your teaching will improve because of it.
Check it out.
- Wayne T. Padgett
To contribute your review of teaching and learning-related resources to this newsletter, simply contact the CPSE.
Call for Educational Research Mentors
Call for Educational Research Mentees
We are seeking people who have an established
educational research project (or who have worked
on a project in the past), and who would be willing to
mentor a faculty member who is new to and interested in educational research. This could be a great
way to establish a new collaboration, or reinvigorate
a project. Besides, mentoring someone earns two
punches on your CPSE/IRPA “free lunch” card!
Some faculty new to educational research have expressed a desire to be matched with an educational
research mentor – someone with interests in a similar area, who could provide guidance and advice,
and who might even have an existing project in
which a new person could participate.
To volunteer to be an educational research mentor,
please email the CPSE with the research topics
you’re most experienced/interested in.
If you’d like to request an educational research mentor, please let Kay C Dee know what research topics
you’re most interested in. And yes, mentees get two
punches on their free lunch cards, too.
Educational Research Project Opportunity—National Survey of Student Engagement
As a member of the Affiliates Program of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
(CASTL), Rose-Hulman is working with Western Carolina University and Buffalo State College on a collaborative project. The overarching goal is to use information gained from the National Survey of Student Engagement (the NSSE) on the level of the individual classroom. Specifically, the plan is to explore mismatches between faculty perceptions and student perceptions of the frequency and importance of different types of
learning opportunities. This is a great opportunity for someone interested in establishing an educational research focus on student engagement or how institutions can effectively use results from student surveys. If
you’re interested in potentially participating in this project, please contact Kay C Dee or Julia Williams.
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Winter 2007/08
Upcoming Conferences and Events
are listed on the CPSE web site: http://www.rose-hulman.edu/cpse/
Lunchtime Journal Club
A Little Light Reading
Read a great educational research article recently?
Want to lead a lunchtime discussion of the article
with interested faculty and staff? Oh, yes, you do!
Email the CPSE to make it happen.
The latest issue of the International Journal for the
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning is now online.
Browse and Ponder: The Gallery of Teaching and Learning
This website presents teaching portfolios and scholarship of teaching and learning projects (SoTL projects, to use
the right buzzword) created by faculty supported by the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and
Learning in Higher Education. The faculty group and projects are multidisciplinary, including a course on ‘Learning
to Think Mathematically,” project on helping students transfer their calculus knowledge across disciplines, using
case writing to support the learning of pre-service teachers, and more. Can a professor at a technical institution
really gain something from looking at the electronic portfolio of a professor of music? Quite possibly. Some things
about teaching, and about interacting with students, appear to be universal.
Mentoring Faculty Colleagues
Being a good mentor takes work, and – like teaching – mentoring colleagues isn’t something for which most Ph.D.
programs provide training. Interested in some tips on deciding when to give advice and when to let someone work
toward insight on their own? Could you use a list of good problem-solving questions that can be used in (even difficult) discussions? Want to self-assess your listening habits? The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has an excellent
faculty mentoring web site, and their ‘Supportive Materials for Success’ page is extremely useful.
Featured Resource: How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education
If you would like to learn about educational research, and are seeking a structured, formal approach to learning, consider picking up a copy of How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education, 6th edition, J.R. Fraenkel
and N.E. Wallen, McGraw-Hill, 2006. This textbook is eminently suitable for beginners, and for people who have
done classroom assessments but who feel they don’t have a good grounding in the vocabulary and theory of
educational research.
In my opinion, the strengths of this book are its thoroughness, its examples, its introduction to statistical analysis, and the annotated short research reports provided periodically throughout the text. (Continued on page 4)
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Featured Resource — Continued
The book is definitely thorough enough to help people plan and execute well-grounded research projects, and will assuredly help people knowledgeably use the vocabulary of educational research. The examples are plentiful and understandable.
Care has been taken to provide visuals (diagrams, tables, cartoons) and to format the text for readability. The introduction to
statistical analysis begins at the absolute beginning (frequency histograms, mean/median/mode, etc.) and carries through to
a commendable endpoint (power, effect size, appropriate tests and techniques and their underlying assumptions). The annotated educational research articles clearly point out weaknesses and ambiguities, and also highlight instances where something was well-done. I haven’t yet found a major weakness of this book other than the price. If I had to pick on something, I’d
say that the electronic material to supplement the text is meager and semi-useful at best (electronic versions of the chapter
summary worksheets; a few charts that violate fundamental principles of graphical excellence and universal accessibility).
Major content headings of this textbook include:
• The basics of educational research (variables and hypotheses; sampling; instrumentation; validity and reliability;
internal validity)
• Data analysis (descriptive statistics; inferential statistics)
• Quantitative research methodologies (experimental research; single-subject research; correlational research; causalcomparative research; survey research)
• Qualitative research methodologies (ethnographic research; historical research)
• Writing research proposals and reports.
Frankly, I wish I had discovered this textbook years ago. The CPSE has a copy of the book; if you’d like to take a look at it
or borrow it for a period of time, just stop by Moench Hall, room D217. The official McGraw-Hill information about the book is
here: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072981369/information_center_view0/
The sixth edition is available new from powells.com in hardcover ($108) and from amazon.com in hardcover ($110) or
paperback ($25.94); other vendors on amazon.com carry used copies for less (note: prices are those listed on 12/11/07).
You can probably find used copies of previous editions at even lower prices. Some editions of this text are titled “...with PowerWeb,” which evidently gets you access to a searchable database of online journal articles. My advice would be: if it costs
more, skip this option, and use ERIC for your educational literature searches (see Focal Point issue #1 for an introduction to
And now for the quiz...
“Which of the following did not happen in 2007?
a. Brian May, guitarist for Queen, successfully defended his doctoral thesis in astronomy.
b. Lou Reed, founder of the Velvet Underground, was recognized by Syracuse University for excellence in the arts.
c. Iggy Pop, founder of the Stooges, spent a semester as a guest lecturer at Wayne State University.
d. Donovan Leitch, the psychedelic folk rocker, announced plans to start his own university.”
(Taken from The Chronicle of Higher Education, Short Subjects, 54(17):A6, 2007.)
All unattributed articles in this issue of Focal Point were written by Kay C Dee: [email protected], for the Center for the Practice and
Scholarship of Education, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 5500 Wabash Avenue, Terre Haute, IN 47803.
Contributions to issues of Focal Point are most welcome!
Answer: C.